The Washington Post
Abarat: Days of Magic, Nights of Warby Clive Barker
Candy Quackenbush's adventures in the amazing world of the Abarat are getting more strange by the hour. Christopher Carrion, the Lord of Midnight, has sent his henchman to capture her. Why? she wonders. What would Carrion want with a girl from Minnesota? And why is Candy beginning to feel that the world of Abarat is familiar to her? Why can she speak/i>/i>… See more details below
Candy Quackenbush's adventures in the amazing world of the Abarat are getting more strange by the hour. Christopher Carrion, the Lord of Midnight, has sent his henchman to capture her. Why? she wonders. What would Carrion want with a girl from Minnesota? And why is Candy beginning to feel that the world of Abarat is familiar to her? Why can she speak words of magic she doesn't even remember learning?
There is a mystery here. And Carrion, along with his fiendish grandmother Mater Motley, suspects that whatever Candy is, she could spoil their plans to take control of the Abarat.
Now Candy's companions must race against time to save her from the clutches of Carrion, and she must solve the mystery of her past before the forces of Night and Day clash and Absolute Midnight descends upon the islands.
A final war is about to begin. And Candy is going to need to make some choices that will change her life forever....
The Washington Post
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Abarat: Days of Magic, Nights of War
By Clive Barker
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2005 Clive Barker
All right reserved.
Freaks, Fools and Fugitives
After a battle lasting many ages,
The Devil won,
And he said to God
(who had been his Maker):
We are about to witness the unmaking of Creation
By my hand.
I would not wish you
to think me cruel,
So I beg you, take three things
From this world before I destroy it.
Three things, and then the rest will be
God thought for a little time.
And at last He said:
"No, there is nothing."
The Devil was surprised.
"Not even you, Lord?" he said.
And God said:
"No. Not even me."
-- From Memories of the World's End
(Christopher Carrion's favorite poem)
Let's get our photograph taken," Candy said to Malingo. They were walking down a street in Tazmagor, where -- this being on the island of Qualm Hah -- it was Nine O'clock in the Morning. The Tazmagorian market was in full swing, and in the middle of all this buying and selling a photographer called Guumat had set up a makeshift studio. He'd hung a crudely painted backcloth from a couple of poles and set his camera, a massive device mounted on a polished wood tripod, in front of it. His assistant, a youth who shared his father's coxcomb hair and lightly striped blue-and-black skin, was parading a board on which examples of Guumat the Elder's photos were pinned.
"You like to be pictured by the great Guumat?" the youth said to Malingo. "He make you look real good."
Malingo grinned. "How much?"
"Two paterzem," said the father, gently pressing his offspring aside so as to close the sale.
"For both of us?" Candy said.
"One picture, same price. Two paterzem."
"We can afford that," Candy said to Malingo.
"Maybe you like costumes. Hats?" Guumat asked them, glancing at them up and down. "No extra cost."
"He's politely telling us we look like vagabonds," Malingo said.
"Well, we are vagabonds," Candy replied.
Hearing this, Guumat looked suspicious. "You can pay?" he said.
"Yes, of course," said Candy, and dug in the pocket of her brightly patterned trousers, held up with a belt of woven biffel-reeds, and pulled out some coins, sorting through them to give Guumat the paterzem.
"Good! Good!" he said. "Jamjam! Get the young lady a mirror. How old are you?" "Almost sixteen, why?"
"You wear something much more ladylike, huh? We got nice things. Like I say, no extra charge."
"I'm fine. Thank you. I want to remember this the way it really was." She smiled at Malingo. "Two wanderers in Tazmagor, tired but happy."
"That's what you want, that's what I give you," Guumat said.
Jamjam handed her a little mirror and Candy consulted her reflection. She was a mess, no doubt about it. She'd cut her hair very short a couple of weeks before so she could hide from Houlihan among some monks on Soma Plume, but the haircut had been very hurried, and it was growing out at all angles.
"You look fine," Malingo said.
"So do you. Here, see for yourself."
She handed him the mirror. Her friends back in Chickentown would have thought Malingo's face -- with his deep orange hide and the fans of leathery skin to either side of his head -- fit only for Halloween. But in the time they'd been traveling together through the islands, Candy had come to love the soul inside that skin: tenderhearted and brave.
Guumat arranged them in front of his camera.
"You need to stand very, very still," he instructed them. "If you move, you'll be blurred in the picture. So, now let me get the camera ready. Give me a minute or two." "What made you want a photograph?" Malingo said from the corner of his mouth.
"Just to have. So I won't forget anything."
"As if," said Malingo.
"Please," said Guumat. "Be very still. I have to focus."
Candy and Malingo were silent for a moment.
"What are you thinking about?" Malingo murmured.
"Being on Yzil, at Noon."
"Oh yes. That's something we're sure to remember."
"Especially seeing her . . ."
"The Princess Breath."
Now, without Guumat requesting it, they both fell silent for a long moment, remembering their brief encounter with the Goddess on the Noon-Day island of Yzil. Candy had seen her first: a pale, beautiful woman in red and orange standing in a patch of warm light, breathing out a living creature, a purplish squid. This, it was said, was the means by which most of the species in the Abarat had been brought into Creation. They had been breathed out by the Creatrix, who had then let the soft wind that constantly blew through the trees and vines of Yzil claim the newborn from her arms and carry them off to the sea.
"That was the most amazing -- "
"I'm ready!" Guumat announced from beneath the black cloth he'd ducked under. "On the count of three we take the picture. One! Two! Three! Hold it! Don't move! Don't move! Seven seconds." He lifted his head out from under the cloth and consulted his stopwatch. "Six. Five. Four. Three. Two. One. That's it!" Guumat slipped a plate into his camera to stop the exposure. "Picture taken! Now we have to wait a few minutes while I prepare a print for you."
"No problem," Candy said.
"Are you going down to the ferry?" Jamjam asked her.
"Yes," said Candy.
"You look like you've been on the move."
"Oh, we have," said Malingo. "We've seen a lot in the last few weeks, traveling around."
"I'm jealous. I've never left Qualm Hah. I'd love to go adventuring."
A minute later Jamjam's father appeared with the photograph, which was still wet. "I can sell you a very nice frame, very cheap."
"No, thanks," said Candy. "It's fine like this."
She and Malingo looked at the photograph. The colors weren't quite true, but Guumat caught them looking like a pair of happy tourists, with their brightly colored, rumpled clothes, so they were quite happy.
Photograph in hand, they headed down the steep hill to the harbor and the ferry.
"You know, I've been thinking . . ." Candy said as they made their way through the crowd.
"Seeing the Princess Breath made me want to learn more. About magic."
"Come on, Malingo! Teach me. You know all about conjurations -- "
"A little. Just a little."
Excerpted from Abarat: Days of Magic, Nights of War by Clive Barker Copyright © 2005 by Clive Barker.
Excerpted by permission.
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